Dry River Looks Much Different from Record ’88 Lows
(Downtown Memphis) Near record lows on the Mississippi River draw people to the waterfront every day to marvel at the lack of water.
Lots of folks say they’re shocked at what they see.
”It looks pretty low. You can see the bottom in some spots” said Jay Nazar of Dallas, Texas.
But it’s nothing compared to the vast beaches and sandbars that popped up in 1988.
Back then, it seemed you could almost walk across the river in some places.
Think about this report from 1988:
“As much as 10 feet of water normally covers this land. Now it looks more like a tropical beach. 30 day estimates show the river getting lower so we soon might have more sand in the Mississippi than water.”
Twenty four years later, some parts of the Mississippi look quite similar to the record lows of 1988, but the parts most critical to commerce look very different.
In fact, unless you have a good memory, or take a good look at the gauge, you’d hardly know the river was near a record low.
Thank the Army Corps of Engineers for building stone dikes which funnel water down the Mississippi’s main channel ”Those stone dikes you see on the river they act as nozzles to speed up the river, keep the silt from settling as much so we’re in much better condition on the river than we were in 1988” said Corps spokesman Jim Pogue.
He says constant dredging of trouble spots and re-marking of the changing channel have kept commerce moving even as we head to even lower river levels ”It’s a big problem right now, but we’re confident that we can handle it better than we did in ’88”.
But trouble spots still pop up from time to time.
The Corps of Engineers expects problems off and on for the next month or more.